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Capture of Planetesimals into a Circumterrestrial SwarmThe lunar origin model considered in this report involves processing of protolunar material through a circumterrestrial swarm of particles. Once such a swarm has formed, it can gain mass by capturing infalling planetesimals and ejecta from giant impacts on the Earth, although the angular momentum supply from these sources remains a problem. The first stage of formation of a geocentric swarm by capture of planetesimals from initially heliocentric orbits is examined. The only plausible capture mechanism that is not dependent on very low approach velocities is the mutual collision of planetesimals passing within Earth's sphere of influence. The dissipation of energy in inelastic collisions or accretion events changes the value of the Jacobi parameter, allowing capture into bound geocentric orbits. This capture scenario was tested directly by many body numerical integration of planetesimal orbits in near Earth space.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Weidenschilling, S. J.
(Planetary Science Inst. Tucson, AZ, United States)
Date Acquired
August 12, 2013
Publication Date
April 1, 1985
Publication Information
Publication: NASA, Washington Repts. of Planetary Geol. and Geophys. Program, 1984
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Exploration
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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